Dereham 3 – 2 Cambridge University

Dereham were back on home turf this weekend and welcomed Cambridge University to Greenfields Road.

It was a shaky start for Dereham with the visitors starting the game strongly and doing much of the playing in the Dereham half. Cambridge forced Dereham shot stopper Maddy Marshall in some early saves but the deadlock was broken on 4 minutes when a goal mouth scramble led to Dereham failing to clear their lines and Cambridge eventually getting the ball just over the line.

This was just the wake up call Dereham needed and sprung them into action. On 10 minutes good link up play by Fran Grapes and Hayley Toleman led to the Cambridge defence to work hard to foil the shot! Dereham then won their first short corner of the game which they worked well for the deflection which was saved by the Cambridge Uni player. Very shortly after they win another short corner and this time made no mistake. The initial strike from Natasha Grapes, hit the Uni 1st runner, falling perfectly to Pip Howes who made no mistake in slotting home.

Dereham continued to dominate the play and possession with high tempo hockey and a good run and pass by Charlotte Taylor found Fran Grapes waiting in the D only to be tackled by a last ditch tackle by the Cambridge defence. This was the last of the action in the first half and Dereham rallied well after the early set back to stride in 1-1 at half time.

After words at half time Dereham came out firing and it didn’t take them long to take the lead thanks to quick thinking and play from Ali Walters, punishing the Cambridge defence error and rolling the ball neatly inside for Hayley Toleman to slot home her first of the match!

Cambridge then came back strongly at Dereham and solid defending and good tackles from Helen, Tammy and Eve kept the score at 2-1.

Both sides then began to lose their discipline as the half went on exchanging green cards but it was Dereham who continued to press and play at a high tempo and created chances in open play and short corners but couldn’t add to their tally until Dereham Captain, Lucy Soame, won took a quick restart and drove at the Cambridge defence, and played a pinpoint pass to player of the match Hayley Toleman who superbly volleyed the ball past the keeper.

With 15 minutes to go, back came Cambridge and they won a succession of short corners where they did get the ball in the net only for the goal to be ruled out because the ball had never left the D. Maddy Marshall was then called into action frequently as Cambridge pushed to get back into the game.

With both sides still pushing, Dereham continued to try and unlock the Cambridge defence once more to no avail and it was Cambridge who played the last 10 minutes firmly camped in the Dereham half winning several short corners which Dereham continued to repel until Cambridge got their goal via a well worked short corner to set up a nervy finish for the home side.

With minutes left on the clock, once more Cambridge came at Dereham but Every Dereham player stuck to their task and put everything on the line to secure a well deserved 3 points and get back to winning ways after the disappointment of last week.